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Queerty: Chicago White Sox salute gay veterans during their perfect Pride Night celebrations

U.S. Army vet Brian DunnTwitter

The Chicago White Sox combined Pride and service when they celebrated the LGBTQ+ community at their recent Pride Night.

The team honored two local gay veterans, U.S. Army Reserve Lt. Col. Brian Dunn and U.S. Navy Veteran Monica Urbieta, as their “Heroes of the Game” for their service on the aircraft carrier U.S.S. George Washington in the Persian Gulf.

Dunn, who enlisted in 1993, said he never previously imagined he would be able to embrace his LGBTQ+ identity while wearing his Army uniform… at a baseball stadium no less.

“When I joined the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. in 1993 there was an outright ban on service members that identified as (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning),” he said, via the U.S. Army’s official website. “Now 30 years later, the military has full support of our LGBTQ service members. The military’s view of our LGBTQ service members has come a long way. I’m very proud to wear my uniform and to be honored here for my military service on Pride night.”

Dunn’s husband, Mike Graves, who’s a Navy vet himself, said he was elated to see his partner recognized on the diamond.

“It was a surprise but it’s a great thing. He really deserves it,” he said. “He’s a great representative for the Army. He is providing a service above and beyond and he does it happily.”

Lt. Col. Brian Dunn was honored for his service at the Chicago White Sox MLB team’s Pride Night game in Chicago.
During Pride Month, we salute all members of the LGBTQ+ community who have taken the oath to honorably serve the nation.
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— U.S. Army Reserve (@USArmyReserve) June 27, 2023

The White Sox went all-out for Pride Night, inviting a local LGBTQ+ photographer, Gonzalo Guzman, to chronicle the event. His camera perfectly captured the euphoria of the evening.

“I’m very interested in narrative and people in general,” he said to White Sox Pride. “I’m not a sports photographer, but I would love to capture intimate portraits of fans, and their reasoning for coming out to the ballpark.”

The organization invited Gonzalo Guzman, a Latino photographer and proud member of the LGBTQ+ community, to photograph Pride Night as part of the Game Changers Through the Lens series.

— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) June 22, 2023

Both Chicago baseball teams have a proud tradition of supporting the LGBTQ+ community. The Cubs, whose trailblazing “Out at Wrigley” event has been going on for more than 20 years, threw their Pride Night earlier this month. Their co-owner, Laura Ricketts, is the first out gay owner of a major-league sports franchise in the U.S.

The White Sox are deeply invested in the community as well–as evidenced by the widespread offerings of their Pride Night. The team enlisted an out Chicago artist, Sandra Antongiorgi, to create a special rainbow-themed shirt as part of their “summer t-shirt series.”

“Social justice is a really big part of what I do,” she said. “Giving people voice and expression for those who really don’t have that. Designing something that started from love, because that is one thing we all have and puts us all on the same level is that feeling of love and that search for love.”

Social justice is a big part of what Sandra Antongiorgi does, striving to give people voice and expression for those who might not have that.

— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) June 19, 2023

Last year, star White Sox close Liam Hendricks said the organization’s embrace of Pride was one of the prevailing factors that convinced him to join the team.

“It wasn’t a demand. It was a simple question of, ‘Do you guys have a Pride Night?,’” he told The Athletic. “And if you don’t, that will be something that we need to look into that working out, making sure that we can handle it, because I don’t want to go necessarily to a team that doesn’t do it.”

A gander at the White Sox’ social media pages shows they celebrate LGBTQ+ Pride year round. Members of the organization were also repping at Chicago’s Pride parade last weekend.

Love is love. ????

Happy Pride from the Chicago White Sox!

— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) June 25, 2023


— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) June 22, 2023

It’s fair to slam some pro sports organizations for simply using Pride Night as a promotional gimmick, but the White Sox aren’t one of them. From honoring gay service members to promoting LGBTQ+ artists, the team did Pride right!

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